China's first conservation base for underwater cultural heritage to open in Ningbo
On July 29th, the cornerstone laying ceremony for the Ningbo national conservation base for underwater cultural heritage and Ningbo Chinese Port Museum construction project was held at Beilun Port, in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. Director of the State Bureau of Cultural Relics, Shan Jixiang, together with member of the Ningbo standing committee and Beilun District committee secretary, Chen Lixing, unveiled the plaque and laid the cornerstone of the conservation base. Director of the Zhejiang Provincial Bureau of Cultural Relics, Bao Xianlun, and head of the Chinese Cultural Heritage Institute, Liu Shuguang, both represented their respective institutions in making a speech. Secretary of the Conservation and Archaeology office of the State Bureau of Cultural Relics, Guan Qiang, secretary of the Museum and Social Heritage office, Duan Yong, deputy director of the National Museum of China, Zhang Wei, foreign envoys, councilors and officials from over fifty countries stationed in China, as well as some 400 representatives from all areas of society were in attendance. The ceremony was conducted by the deputy mayor of the Ningbo Municipal Government, Cheng Yuechong.
The national conservation base for underwater cultural heritage is the first regional underwater heritage conservation base of its kind to be established since the foundation of the “National underwater cultural heritage conservation centre” on September 28th, 2009. It's construction is a realisation of the underwater cultural heritage managerial system: to be state-led and regionally supported, with the coordination of all relevant departments. It is also the joint result of the attention and care of the State Bureau of Cultural Relics, the strong support of the Zhejiang Provincial Bureau of Cultural Relics, and the multi-party cooperation of the The Chinese Cultural Heritage Institute, Ningbo cultural broadcasting press and publication bureau and Beilun District People's Government.
According to reports, the Ningbo national conservation base for underwater cultural heritage and Ningbo Chinese Port Museum are being jointly constructed. The Museum has a total area of 40,000 m2, of which the Ningbo conservation base has independent use of 11,000 m2. Work is expected to be completed by 2013. After completion, this base will provide a location for the protection, display, exchange and communication of national underwater cultural heritage.
Under the overall leadership of the State Bureau of Cultural Relics and Zhejiang Provincial Bureau of Cultural Relics, following the guidance of the Chinese Cultural Heritage Institute and its underwater cultural heritage centre, and with the expertise of the Ningbo Municipal Institute of Cultural Relics Archaeology at its core, the base will assemble national underwater cultural heritage protection professionals, carry out major research projects. Such project include underwater archaeological investigation in the East China Sea, the conservation of excavated relics, professional training, the 'Silk Road of the Seas' and Chinese-foreign maritime history.
At the ceremony, the head of the Chinese Cultural Heritage Institute, Liu Shuguang, and director of the Ningbo cultural broadcasting press and publication bureau, Chen Jiaqiang, represented their respective institutions in signing a framework agreement for cooperation with the Ningbo national underwater cultural heritage conservation base. (Translated by Duncan Poupard)